What is Capoeira’s most dangerous kick?
This was a question that Mestre Biscuim posed to us in a recent class. We’d just finished a tough session and took 10 minutes at the end of the class to reflect on some of the things we’d been training.
He asked this question once, we stood in a circle thinking about how best to answer, the nervous energy of who will go first. He asked once again, one mentioned armada, another rabo de arraia, next came martelo…
There was a brief moment of silence as we all pondered what had been asked and the suggestions so far. Mestre Biscuim then continued, “you are all right, because every single one of Capoeira’s strikes are dangerous.”
Capoeira is often described as a dance or that kicking dance where you avoid each other. From the outside it can be perceived as such, but capoeira is first and foremost a martial art. The dance like movements, acrobatics and music complete the art. They are what make it tricky to read, tricky to understand. In capoeira, when we kick, strike, sweep or throw it is with the intention of hitting or unbalancing our opponent.
Like any martial art, it’s not necessary to hit your opponent with a force to knock them out, if we did that there wouldn’t be anyone to train with, but don’t be fooled that capoeira is just a dance where you won’t get hit. If you don’t move and dodge, chances are you are going the right way to winning a space on a hospital bed. The fact that it is so dangerous is one of the reasons it’s kicks translate so well in MMA (mixed martial arts), when the technique is applied well, there is often no getting up afterwards.
The lesson that Mestre Biscuim was giving us is that all the strikes in capoeira are dangerous and we should treat them with the deserved respect. They are all arms that can be used effectively at the right time within the capoeira game. Without upholding this respect it will be similar to a drunken street fight where one is just trying to floor the other. Where is the skill in that?
Martial arts support a healthy mind set by teaching us techniques, patience, dedication and respect for ourselves and those around us. Through this practice we understand that the objective is not always to win, over your partner, the challenge is often within us, the battle of physical and mental abilities, the desire to get better and develop your own abilities where you can be content with trying your best and not pitting yourself against the person to your side.
Capoeira is a lot of fun and the game is a celebration of the art. Let’s not forget it’s history and how it came to be. Let’s not loose the respect that it truly deserves.
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